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Teachings From The Northern Coast Of Israel

Caesarea Philippi was named by Philip, the son Herod the Great (who tried to kill the infant Christ; see The Herods). Philip named it after the reigning Caesar ("Caesarea"; there were two Caesars during the life of Jesus of Nazareth - Augustus and Tiberius) and himself ("Philippi"). It has an elevation of about 1,150 feet above sea level, even though near the foot of Mount Hermon, within the eastern sources of The Jordan River, which then flows south through the Sea of Galilee.

The city of Caesarea Philippi was located near the original northern border of the land of Israel, as defined by the city of Dan ("Dan to Beersheba" e.g. 1 Samuel 3:20), which was about 6 miles to the west of Caesarea Philippi, with Jerusalem about 150 miles to the south. As seen on the map, Caesarea Philippi was an inland city, however the King James Version refers to the area as "the coasts of Caesarea Philippi" because the word "coast" originally meant a border, not necessarily a boundary near or made by a body of water. Caesarea Philippi was near the traditional northern "coast," or border, of Israel.

It was natural for Jesus Christ, The Prophet Of Galilee, to travel to the area of Caesarea Philippi from His home in Nazareth, and later, Capernaum. It was while He was in Caesarea Philippi that He delivered some of His most well-known teachings about "the gates of hell," "the keys of the kingdom" and "bind and loose" (see the Fact Finder question below).

"16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist [see The Prophets: John The Baptist and Rabbi John]: some, Elias [see The Prophets: Elijah]; and others, Jeremias [see The Prophets: Jeremiah], or one of the prophets [see The Prophets: North and South].

16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

"16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [see Did Peter Have The Primacy? and Peter's Ministry]; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ (Matthew 16:13-20 KJV)

"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works"

Without the greater measure of Holy Spirit that they later received, after His Resurrection (see Their Eyes Opened After Christ's Tomb Did), the apostles did not fully understand, while He was yet with them, that He came to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God. The reason that Peter defended the Messiah from the mob on the night that He was arrested (see Malchus) was to attempt to prevent the Christ from being killed. In this incident, at Caesarea Philippi, when the Messiah told them that He had to go down to Jerusalem to be killed, loyal Peter said that "this shall not be unto thee."

Caesarea Philippi

"16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day [see Why Observe The True Sabbath?].

16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matthew 16:21-23 KJV)

The purpose of our physical lives is to choose, by means of genuine repentance (see Growing In The Grace And Knowledge and The Truth Shall Make You Free), to accept the Messiah's offer of salvation. If there was nothing required, there would be no lake of fire coming to destroy those who refuse to do what they must do to be saved (see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?). Those who merely arrogantly do as "they damn well please" in Christ's Name are going to get the Damnation that they are asking for by their self-righteous Satanic rebelliousness (see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and What's Your Angle?; also Is He Out Of Your Mind?).

"16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [see Carrying The Cross], and follow me. 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? [see Where Is Your Soul?] 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works [see Works Means Obedience]. 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:24-28 KJV)

The "transfiguration" most-likely occurred on nearby Mount Hermon. It was a vision of the future Kingdom of God on earth (see Delivering The Kingdom Unto God).

"17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses [see The Prophets: Moses], and one for Elias [see The Prophets: Elijah].

17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 17:8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead." (Matthew 17:1-9 KJV)

The "Elijah to come" then was John the Baptist (see The Elijahs and How Long Was John's Ministry?).

"17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist." (Matthew 17:10-13 KJV)

Fact Finder: What does the Word of God actually teach about "the gates of hell," "the keys of the kingdom" and "bind and loose"?
See Through The Gates Of Hell and Bind and Loose

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